NORMAL — Kristen Gillespie, who led Division II Lewis University to 51 victories the past two seasons, will be introduced as the new Illinois State women's basketball coach Tuesday in a 1 p.m. news conference at the Hancock Stadium Club.
Gillespie fashioned a 54-53 record in four seasons at Division III Benedictine before taking over at Lewis. The granddaughter of coaching legend Gordie Gillespie was 28-3 in her first season at Lewis and 23-9 this past year.
"I was extremely blessed to coach a group of incredible young women," Gillespie said in a Lewis news release. "I am so proud of all of their accomplishments on and off the court. I will always cherish the memories that I have made here at Lewis.
"To have been able to coach at the same university where my grandfather (Gordie) got his collegiate coaching start is hard to put into words."
ISU director of athletics Larry Lyons said Monday he would prefer to withhold his comments on Gillespie's hiring until Tuesday.
The Flyers advanced to the NCAA Midwest Regional in both seasons under Gillespie's tutelage and posted a 29-5 record in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.
"KG is a great person, easy to work with," said Lewis men's basketball coach Scott Trost. "I'm sure she will do well there. People will like her."
Trost, the former Illinois Wesleyan coach, said that although Gillespie inherited a talented team, she made the most of that talent.
"She adapted her style to what was already here. That's the sign of a good coach," Trost said. "She developed her schemes and her systems around the personnel she had and was very effective."
Gillespie played for Hall of Fame coach Kay Yow at North Carolina State, where she was a four-year letterwinner and a three-year captain from 1996-99. She was the starting point guard on the Wolfpack's 1998 Final Four team.
After brief assistant coaching stints at Central Florida and California-Santa Barbara, Gillespie returned to North Carolina State to pursue her master's degree and serve as a graduate assistant on Yow's staff.
Gillespie spent two seasons as a high school coach in Florida before coming back to North Carolina State once again as a full-time assistant.
Anyone wishing to attend the Gillespie news conference may park north of Hancock Stadium in the Ropp parking lot, or in the east parking lot outside the stadium.
Gillespie will replace Barb Smith, who was fired on March 13. Smith had a 28-93 record over four seasons.